Our quarterly planning meeting for future paint-outs was yesterday at the Arboretum. A spring meeting there is always colorful. It's also loud with the peacocks calling to each other. I've been trying to experiment a bit with my watercolors, Something Different, being my previous painting there. For this painting I was looking for some bright colors that I could surround with darker values. After just a short walk I noticed the yellow trumpet tree, "Fire Sticks" plants, and some blooming aloes. The "Fire Sticks' are a type of "Pencil Cactus", which isn't a cactus at all but a Euphorbia. The Arboretum also had many tomato plants for purchase and I was happy to get one.
A week or so ago I returned to Farnsworth Park in Altadena with one of the paint-out groups. It was a pretty day and it's a very large park so as usual my painting subject took some time to settle on. The centerpiece of the park is the beautiful 1934 community building that's in an arts and crafts American craftsman style. It's on the National Register of Historic Places. I painted the west side of the building on my first visit, Farnsworth Park. Unfortunately there are usually cars parked in front of the building's entrance. I noticed I could see the top of the two-story building above some trees on the south side, the back view. That view also included the mountains so I tried my watercolor from there.
I almost forgot about this watercolor I painted at Alhambra Park last fall. Sometimes a piece gets set aside when I can't decide if it's finished yet. On my previous visit I painted a smaller piece, Across From The Park. Alhambra Park is a nice size and includes a pool, lots of grass, covered picnic tables, and even an amphitheater. So far, I've only painted views at the north end of it. This time I chose another view which includes the homes on the east side of the park. The cast shadows from the trees were especially pretty that morning.
I painted at Elephant Hill several months ago with a new (to me) group, New Group! It's a nice location with several great views so I was happy to return with the Saturday group. The morning was a little overcast which made the distant hills very atmospheric with muted tones, softened lines. I decided to try a view of Elephant Hill and the distant hills which included a sharp diagonal with some dark, dry and rough trees clinging to it. I would like to try this same view again next time.
Our city is adding two new pocket parks. What nice way to use small vacant lots. Community meetings are still being held so that neighbors can participate in the planning of the parks. We also had a paint-out a few weeks ago at one of the parks on a Saturday when a community meeting was scheduled.
It was a very overcast morning and we painters arrived a couple hours before the meeting was to begin. I wondered how many people would be attending the meeting, how much interest. I hoped to have my painting well under way by the time people would start arriving. There were some chickens living at a home next door to the planned park. I wanted to add them to my watercolor even though they weren't in the backyard I chose to paint. It turned out to be a very well attended community meeting with many neighbors offering their ideas. Wonderful to see this addition to our neighborhood.